Address Teacher Professional Development rollout woes
As the Teachers Service Commission rolls out the Teacher Professional Development (TPD) modules, questions abound on how the training will be implemented. First, how will teachers who are over 50 enjoy the fruits of their investment in the training yet they have less than 10 years before they retire from service?
Like such other public officers, they must have set their mind on retiring at 60 years. But the employer wants them to enroll for TPD at their own cost. It will cost Sh180,000 for the six modules over 30 years.
As parents, these teachers already carrying heavy financial burden on their shoulders. They pay fees for their children in schools and tertiary institutions besides supporting extended family members. Some have taken loans for retirement projects.
Secondly, there are worries about hidden costs. These are likely to dig deeper into their compromised pockets. TSC says the yearly cost would be Sh6,000 for two online lessons, 42.5 hours of face-to-face lessons in a week as well as blended learning.
For face-to-face lessons, a teacher would be required to set aside food, fare and accommodation expenses at the insitutions offering the training — including Kenyatta University, Mt Kenya University, Riara University and Kenya Educational Management Institute (Kemi). Some of them are advertising for the TPD modules starting December.
TSC has not given a timetable for the training. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the school calendar; holidays have been cut down to barely a week between terms. It is, therefore, practically impossible for universities to conduct TPD during school holidays. A programme released by the Education ministry shows the earliest that the calendar will return to the pre-Covid-19 schedule is in January 2023.
Besides, TSC de-gazetted some sub-counties from the list of hardship areas, affecting many teachers.
The online classes may be a tall order for the older teachers due to lack of ICT skills and internet connectivity for those in rural areas. Many of the teachers are caught up in the middle of a professional dilemma.
Mr Ngugi is a teacher.